We enjoyed a visit to the PRI offices yesterday from Trey McFarland, sales and marketing for Mahle Motorsport, and Ted Hughes, marketing manager for Mahle Clevite, along with Rachal Smith, vice president of strategic operations for the Martin & Company advertising agency.
We covered a lot of topics, and there’s a couple things we wanted to share here with the PRI community of racing business folks.
Most importantly, McFarland said Mahle Motorsport is working very hard to make as many race pistons as possible that they produce on a custom basis available as shelf product. He said the company has provided him with a formula where he can manufacture some fairly small batch runs of race pistons and still make them available as shelf stock.
The difference in pricing between shelf stock and custom pistons is naturally very important to a lot of professional race engine builders.
As SB2 heads make their way into the grassroots levels of racing, Mahle Motorsport will be putting together a line of race pistons available as shelf stock rather than providing them on a purely custom basis. “We’re going to be doing a lot more of that,” he said.
McFarland explained that it’s the kind of thing that’s hard to put in an advertisement, but the company wants to get the word out to professional race engine builders when it comes to small batch production runs of race pistons.
Also, if you hear that Mahle Clevite is producing a bi-metal engine bearing, it’s true but this engine bearing is for non-performance uses only. Hughes explained the demand for an aluminum engine bearing for stock purposes was so great that Mahle Clevite has put one on the market, but tri-metal is a much better product and the only bearing from Mahle Clevite for performance and racing purposes.
And for those of you curious about social media marketing on the Internet, you might want to keep an eye on Mahle’s program this year. Hughes said they’re preparing to launch a big social media presence. He acknowledged that it can get dicey on the Internet where marketers provide a forum without being able to maintain absolute control, but it’s a very effective way to make a personal connection with customers and it’s a necessary way to communicate with the up-and-coming generation of gearheads.